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Growliest Most Agressive Sounding Jazz pups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by donahue, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. donahue

    donahue Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2015
    Hi all,

    I have a Fender Japan JB62SS on its way. I'm pretty excited about it. My only other Jazz was an SX JB clone.

    Now this bass will be a more petite size with a classy vintage look (Vintage White) but I would like it to be a fire-breather in tone. A "sleeper" if you will.

    The stock pups have been changed out for a set of Fralins, which I will certainly try out. It also ships with a set of Nordstrand NJ4s (not sure 60s or 70s wind). I will also certainly try those out as well before moving on.

    But I would like to know what, in your opinion are the most aggressive sounding Jazz pups out there? Single or split.

    I plan on keeping it passive, no preamp.

    Is there a Jazz pup that sounds anything like a G&L MFD aggressive-wise and tone-wise?

  2. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    My **my** experience, Duncan Quarter Pound Jazz pickups have a lot of what you are looking for - High Output, Growl, and aggressive tone.
    I have two basses with the QP’s in them, a fretted and a fretless.
    You don’t need a preamp for these. The high end is there, not muddy-sounding at all. With a preamp, I can see using the bass CUT feature more than the bass Boost feature.

    I have not tried the DiMarzio Ultra Jazz, but a lot of people here have, I’m sure they will chime in.

    There are also the Aguilar AG-4J HOT

    I think the QP’s have more growl than the Aggies...

    with regard to sounding like MFD’s....nothing sounds like MFD’s but MFD’s....
    But I think the QP’s will get you as close as possible
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
    Zoobiedood and donahue like this.
  3. jbrew73


    Dec 24, 2006
    DiMarzio model J
    tindrum, Catbuster, donahue and 2 others like this.
  4. Model J always comes to mind, still . After all this time I haven’t heard anything I felt a need to upgrade to. I have a set in a Fretless Jazz with a John East Retro J and it can be very aggressive.
    donahue likes this.
  5. donahue

    donahue Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2015
    Thanks guys. Ironically I did have Model Js in the only other JB I've owned. They did sound good.

    Always wanted to try the QPs. They can be had used easily as well, along with the Model Js.

    Has anyone tried the Nordstrand Blade pups? How are they?
  6. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
    Peavey Superferrites.;)
    bigtone23 and donahue like this.
  7. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    MFDs are ceramic mag pickups with adjustable poles, Dimarzio Model Js are ceramic mag pickups with adjustable poles- I think they are a pretty reasonable take on what an MFD J pickup would sound like (you could experiment with adding steel plates on the bottom like the MFD humbuckers to slightly change the tone as well). I think the Model Js are one of the “growliest” J pickups I’ve tried because the grit is a bit deeper into the mids like MFDs than single coils. The Fralins the bass already has are pretty harmonically aggressive too, but more in the higher mids. I like both quite a bit
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
    donahue likes this.
  8. donahue

    donahue Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2015
    Very helpful. Thank you. I will definitely run the Fralins through the paces. Sometimes I find that lower output pups do sound "aggressive" when digging in due to the harmonics and openness of them.

    I'm kind of kicking myself for selling that last JB with with the Model Js installed. It was a couple years ago now but they were an old set with the PAF stickers. Ah well. There's more out there.
  9. Those Nordstrand J-blades are going to be more aggressive sounding, because they're single-coils.
    All the DiMarzio's are split-coil, which to my ears loses that single-coil aggressiveness.

    You can also pick two different configurations for bridge/neck:


    donahue likes this.
  10. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    Demo of J-blades (both versions) compared with stock G&L AlNoCo singles

    donahue and Killed_by_Death like this.
  11. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    Beat me to it!
    They require routing, but well worth it.
    Teacher likes this.
  12. Dincrest

    Dincrest Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    I once had a Warwick where I swapped out the MEC pickups and preamp to a set of Seymour Duncan STK-J2 Hot Stack Jazz pickups and a passive VVT setup. The tone opened up big time and the growl became a full on roar. They're hum-cancelling as well, so I feel like those pickups are a win-win on all counts.
    donahue likes this.
  13. Teacher


    May 3, 2012
    I've said it more than once: they sound like regular jazz pickups, but with grit and balls!
    bigtone23 likes this.
  14. Toptube


    Feb 9, 2009
    The funny thing about J-Blade demos is people usually baby them to keep their interface from clipping. They really poke, in a way which few (if any) other jazz pickups do.
    donahue likes this.
  15. donahue

    donahue Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2015
    Nice! The Blades seems to be a little smoother and sweeter sounding, with more output but I noticed right away the G&Ls have a lot more character to their tone imo.

    Thanks for sharing
  16. Toptube


    Feb 9, 2009
    Even Nordstrand's own demo has clipping. Especially on the "clean and clear set". The lows are really pushing hard. The Big Blades are similar. They really need to be felt through an amp. Lots of force.

    This is the "clean and clear' set again.
    eastcoasteddie likes this.
  17. Toptube


    Feb 9, 2009
    I agree that the G&L pickups may have a bit more of a bouncy, spongy quality. However, if you watch his hand techniques, he seems to be holding back a bit with the Big J Blades. As I said before, I suspect he is holding back to keep the output from getting away from him.
    donahue likes this.
  18. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Think of the DiMarzio Model J as an ultimate J "slimbucker" pickup. Great J tone, just more of it and with quieter operation. The Seymour Hot Stack and Quarter Pounder are louder & more aggressive, changing the fundamental J character more but not to the extreme that the Nordstrand Blades seem to.

    Obvious differences, and to my ears a big win for the stock G&L pickups for the greater presence and wider range of sound. Steve uploads great stuff. Thanks for posting it.
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  19. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    The Model J’s do sound great, I just don’t know why DiMarzio won’t expand their lineup with the 5-string pickup to include a version of the Model J, as well as make sets that fit modern Fender V’s. Their 5-string pickups are (I think...) Sadowsky shape where both neck and bridge are the same size.
    But that’s a whole ‘nother discussion...
  20. donahue

    donahue Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2015
    Those sound fanfreakintastic with the clean and clear edging out the win!! I play a stronger attack than the demos; I bet I can get those babies growling.
    sunbeast, eastcoasteddie and Toptube like this.

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